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In Alaska, Obama Calls For Urgent Action On Climate Change

President Barack Obama speaks at the Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience (GLACIER) Conference in the Denaina Civic and Convention Center on August 31, 2015 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama speaks at the Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience (GLACIER) Conference in the Denaina Civic and Convention Center on August 31, 2015 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

On day two of his Alaska trip, President Obama is hiking Exit Glacier to draw attention to the visible effects of climate change. Speaking at an international Arctic conference last night, Obama said the world is not acting fast enough to address climate change:

“If we do nothing, temperatures in Alaska are projected to rise between six and 12 degrees by the end of the century, triggering more melting, more fires, more thawing of the permafrost, a negative feedback loop, a cycle – warming leading to more warming – that we do not want to be a part of.

“And the fact is that climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it. That, ladies and gentlemen, must change. We’re not acting fast enough.

“I’ve come here today, as the leader of the world’s largest economy and its second largest emitter, to say that the United States recognizes our role in creating this problem, and we embrace our responsibility to help solve it. And I believe we can solve it. That’s the good news. Even if we cannot reverse the damage that we’ve already caused, we have the means — the scientific imagination and technological innovation — to avoid irreparable harm.”

The president is also calling today for the U.S. to speed up the production and acquisition of Arctic icebreakers, so the Coast Guard is better equipped to deal with the increase in sea traffic there.

Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins gets the latest on the president’s visit from reporter Elizabeth Arnold in Anchorage.

Guest

  • Elizabeth Arnold, journalist based in the Anchorage area. She tweets @AlaskaBetsy.

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